The New York Times called 2011 a prime year for Android as its undeniable dominance finally made major app developers take notice. The result is a number of top brand apps heading to the Android Market, and that growing interest is reflective in this week’s app roundup. Mozilla has long since been interested in the Android platform, and 2011 offered a series of updates for Firefox on Android devices. Papa John’s Pizza and Krispe Kreme also launched Android apps this week, inching one step closer to hungry consumers.
Mozilla released version 9.0 for Android, optimizing the mobile web browser for larger screen sizes on Android tablets. Landscape mode is much easier to use, with your tabs now appearing as thumbnails on the left for easy access and navigation. Another perk is full website viewing on the right side of the tablet screen. Firefox also has a new Action Bar menu, which provides access to your preferences, downloads, add-ons, and so on. With validation for HTML5 forms and boosted start-up speed, there’s plenty to like about his update. It’s timely, too, as Google’s just signed an ad deal with Firefox, shelling out $300 million a year.
Papa John’s Pizza (Free)
Catching up with mobile savvy competitors, Papa John’s Pizza has launched an app in the Android Market. It presents the entire restaurant menu, no sign-up required. Place an order for pick-up or delivery, speed things up with Quick Picks, or save your favorite meal preferences. There’s also a restaurant locator with directions, and promo codes for current promotions. It’s better late than never for Papa John’s, as Pizza Hut and Domino's have had Android apps for some time.
Hot Light (Free)
I can’t think of too many things more inviting than the bright glow of Krispe Kreme’s “hot now” light. The mere suggestion of fresh, warm donuts will reroute more than your attention. Now the seductress has found its way into your pocket, with the Hot Light app. You’ll be alerted every time a “hot now” light sparks up. You can set up alerts for a specific location, or choose to be pinged whenever you drive near a Krispe Kreme with the light on. Get directions that will send you directly to the hot lights, and tell your friends via Facebook and Twitter integration.
Winter Wake-up (Free)
Overnight snowfall can make or break your day, but the Winter Wake-up alarm clock will get you up early enough to clear your driveway and defrost your car (or radio-in school closings so you can plan a worthy snow day). With a weather monitor set for your location, this Android app will send you a message if it has snowed. Set the number of minutes earlier you want to be woken up, with alerts coming in for frost, icy conditions or snow the night before. There’s also options to set your alarm for a single day or automatic repeat, depending on your needs.
Dotti Disposable Camera (Free)
Miss the days of disposable cameras, the sound of a camera click and the feel of a turn wheel? Well, your Android may not be able to bring back the turn wheel, but everything else you love about disposable cameras is replicated with Dotti’s new app. From the makers of Postagram, Dotti Disposable Camera’s best throwback is the stack of photos you get in the mail, printed on 4x6-inch FujiFilm photo paper. Complete with retro sound effects like the flash re-charging or the winding of the film, Dotti delivers the best of both worlds.
A common tip for first-time Android users is to download a tool to help manage your battery life and phone behavior. It deals with the phone’s network connectivity, screen time out and brightness. The sleep schedule alone may help save battery life by taking a break while you slumber through the night. There’s three modes this app operates in, with general, super and advanced settings. Super power saving mode, for instance, puts your phone on standby for as long as possible, while advanced customized mode lets you set the values for your phone’s energy-saving habits. There’s also an option to pause the service.